Tales of the Sausage Factory

Update on Program Access — looks like FCC rolls lucky 7 at DC Cir. Casino.

Wall St. J. reports the court was fairly deferential to the FCC’s predictive judgment. That’s good. But it would be nice if the D.C. Circuit were less of a crap shoot. What makes the FCC’s “predictive judgment” better on program access and on inside wiring than on cable ownership or telco forbearance? Makes it rather Hell to do policy one way or the other.

Stay tuned….

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

D Block Drama Erupts! NENA Breaks Ranks! Wireless Carriers At War! Oh, the Humanity!

Yes, for policy wonks in the summer, this is high drama. Once upon a time, before the 700 MHz auction, we used to have two very clear groups of stakeholders in spectrum policy land. We had public safety on one side and commercial wireless carriers on the other. (We also had us public interest folks, but no one — especially in the Wireless Bureau — gave a crap about us.) While these two groups might disagree internally, they solidified into utterly united and utterly opposing camps when confronting each other — regarding the battle for spectrum as a zero sum game with each side trying to wrestle every last MHz out of the other one.

But the 700 MHz changed all that. It cemented the spectrum advantage of AT&T and Verizon over all other carriers, breaking the commercial world into “AT&T and Verizon” and “carriers who need backhaul, roaming agreements, and special access — all of which they buy from AT&T and Verizon.” And it fractured consensus in the public safety community by creating the enormous loose end known as the “D Block.” As readers may recall (and if they don’t, you can check out my extensive coverage of the 700 MHz auction) the D Block was the private part of a public/private partnership where a private entity would bid and then build out the network, then enter into a sharing agreement with the public safety block. Sadly, for various reasons I will not rehash here, this didn’t work out.

And now, just when it looked like public safety was lining up behind AT&T and Verizon to lobby Congress to reallocate the D Block entirely to public safety, all Hell breaks loose. The “not Verizon and AT&T” wireless carriers have introduced a counter proposal to take back the 12 MHz on the public safety side of the partnership and auction the whole 22 MHz for commercial use as one, unpaired block. And they have received the backing, sort of, of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).

What drama to greet the arrival of Chairman Genachowski and the finally fleshed out full FCC! Commercial wireless carriers at war! Public safety in disarray! Spectrum brother against spectrum brother in the ultimate spectrum policy smackdown!

I analyze the possible deals, the potential winners and losers, and my guesses on odds for success below . . . .

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My Thoughts Exactly

Yes, Kat, it's true! I do love you! I love anybody who buys one of my books, especially if they blog about me!

Sure, my books are available for free download. But when you buy an actual printed copy, I’ll inscribe it any way you like, as for example, here:

cover page of the pains with my handwritten inscription

It says, “Kat, I love you madly, but it has to stop here. To continue on as we have been doing would be MADNESS!”

Yes, it’s like a Governor Sanford or Senator Ensign letter to a mistress, declaring love but calling off the affair. What’s different about the affair between Kat and me, however, is that we’ve never actually met each other. Or even had a conversation.

Details at her blog. Her review of The Pains is here. I do wish it had been a little more enthusiastic, but I’ll take what I can get. After all, Kat was probably a little bit heartbroken as she wrote it.

The key point is, buy my one of my books and you too can get your very own personalized declaration of undying love in permanent ink. Or whatever else you want me to write. (One of the best things anybody ever asked me to write was something like, “Dear _______. I wish I could write as well as you do. But this crap was the best I could come up with, so it will have to do.”) Go wild! Make me be your dancing monkey! Included FREE with the purchase of a book. As Billy Mays might have asked, “NOW how much would you pay?”!

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

My Invitation Must Have Been Blocked Or Degraded.

So my old friends at the National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA) are doing a blogger outreach event today. Oddly, I was not invited. No doubt my invitation was blocked or degraded.

I never get this crap from Verizon.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Inventing the Future

this just in: All your planet are belong to us

How will it change the world to give millions of children low-cost computers and open source software? The first real effect is to provoke a response from Microsoft.

Initially Wintel executives dismissed and ridiculed the OLPC project. But now Microsoft is employing the infamous embrace-and-destroy practice that it has always used to subdue competition.

People are already reporting that Microsoft now plans to give away crippled versions of their software for as little as $3 a copy. But take a look at the real deal. Professional edition can be had for a dollar. Most importantly, the program offers cheap used junk Wintel computers, with Microsoft paying half the cost. In order to place their software in the world’s hands, they intend to undercut the complete OLPC package cost by roughly half. Never mind that the crap boxes consume massive amounts of unavailable power, require massive wired infrastructure through the rainforests, are full of toxins, not hardened against sand and kid use, etc. And of course, the software is the same crap they foist on the rest of us.

Clever, no?

Posted in Inventing the Future, Philosophical business mumbo-jumbo | Also tagged , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

My life as a literary nobody (an update)

A few months ago I got an email invitation to a big party to be held at a trendy nightclub in New York City to commemorate Salon’s tenth anniversary. This was on account of the articles I’ve written for them over the years (see “stuff John wrote” in the little box on the right), one of which I later found out had been selected as one of the “Best of Salon 2003”. I figured I might get to hobnob with some high-octane literary people, maybe make some connections. You never know what might come of such things. So the big day came a few weeks ago and I drove down to Manhattan for this damn party. Hung around the dark noisy nightclub where I couldn’t see a thing or hear myself think. Didn’t know a soul who was there. I talked to a few people; a few short conversations. I even talked to Joan Walsh, Salon’s editor-in-chief. For about 11.5 seconds, that is, until a literary Somebody came by and Walsh turned away from me (the nobody), and posed with the Somebody for the cameraman with the big tripod that he was lugging all over the place and spazzing into people with. Which I thought was rather rude of her, actually, even though it was a noisy party and that kind of abrupt conversational focus-shift does happen at parties like that. I just stood there like a dork for about 2 minutes waiting to see if Walsh was going to resume the conversation that she left mid-word. Finally I took the hint and mosied along. At least the photographer didn’t offer to take my picture, which is good on account of I still have that bad tooth and I look like crap when I smile. Everybody who was a somebody was dressed in stylish black. I too was wearing a black sweater, but it didn’t count because I was also wearing “cheeno” pants and fake topsider boating shoes that I got at K-Mart in Manahawkin for $14.

It cost me thirty damn dollars to park the car. I missed most a day of work, too, between the going to and the coming from New York. My boss wasn’t too crazy about that. Here’s an account of the only significant connection made.

Inside: some more dead ends and projects that went nowhere.

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